Why it makes peace very difficult – almost impossible?
Anti-Semitism has often and rightfully been called the longest hatred, the oldest prejudice. It has plagued Europe for a very long time and has, over the centuries, brought untold suffering to the Jewish people. Its most deadly expression was the Nazi Holocaust, which caused the death of 6 million Jews and extinguished ancient civilizations in much of Europe. So terrible, so evil were those events that anti-Semitism was shunned and repudiated by the civilized world.
What are the facts?
Anti-Semitism is integral to Muslim culture. But while anti-Semitism has indeed been shunned by the civilized world, things are quite different in the Muslim/Arab world because anti-Semitism is an integral part of their religion and culture. The Muslim countries are the only places in the world in which anti-Semitism is publicly endorsed and where it flourishes. The Koran abounds in anti-Semitic statements. An expression of that hatred toward Jews is imbued in Muslim children from an early age. It is the fate of Jews in Muslim lands. For centuries they were tolerated, but only in the submissive capacity of "dhimmis" – second class citizens. They were subjected to countless humiliations, bizarre rules of conduct and clothing and in many cases to assaults and pogroms. When the state of Israel was founded in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Jews in Muslim lands had to flee for their lives or were driven from their homes, where they had lived, in most cases, for centuries. When Israel emerged victorious from the 1967 Six-Day War, virtually all of the remaining Jews were expelled – from Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Morocco. In those countries, virtually no Jews remain today. The vast majority of them wound up in Israel where they and their descendants form a large part of the population and are fully integrated, of course. Compare that to the Palestinian refugees, who, mostly at the urging of their leaders, fled the nascent Jewish state in 1948. Their descendants, who have now miraculously increased to 5 million, still live today in miserable refugee camps, at the dole of the world – mostly of the United States, of course.
Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf, which is prohibited in Germany, is, in Arab and Farsi translations, a perennial best seller in Muslim countries. So is the fraudulent invention The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Muslim world is the only place in which those scurrilous books are readily available. A recent Egyptian television series of 41 installments, based on the "Protocols," was a huge success in the Muslim world.
Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is a favorite topic in the Muslim world. The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (a reputed "moderate") wrote his doctoral thesis with this title: "The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and the Zionist Movement." In some regards, Arab Jew-haters are even worse than their infamous predecessors. For all their terrible deeds, the Nazis never lionized their killers, named streets or buildings after them or encouraged their children to emulate them. That is, however, standard practice in the Muslim world. To kill Jews, to become a martyr, is the highest goal and promises immediate access to a paradise of unbelievable pleasures.
Many people believe that the existence of the state of Israel is the cause of this hatred and that Muslim anti-Semitism would disappear if the Jewish state would disappear. But that is not true. As former "refusenik" and Jewish Agency Chairman, Natan Sharansky, has said: "The Jewish state is no more the cause of anti-Semitism today than the absence of the Jewish state was a century ago."
Hatred of Jews is an integral part of Arab/Muslim culture and did not come about with the creation of the Jewish state. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, at that time the highest Islamic authority in that part of the world, was a staunch and steadfast ally of the Nazis, a trusted accomplice of Hitler. He personally raised SS Waffen troops among the Bosnian Muslims and promised the Nazis that he would fully cooperate with them in the extermination of the Jews in the Middle East. That was in the 1930's – 20 years before the creation of Israel. One shudders to imagine what the Arabs would have done to the Jewish residents of the area if the Nazis had come out victorious in World War II.
Israel has tried for over 60 years to come to terms with its Arab-Muslim neighbors. But it is difficult to make peace with those who think of them as sons of pigs and apes. In the words of Hezbollah's secretary general, Hasan Nasrallah, who declared: "If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak or feeble… we would not find anyone like the Jew." How can one make peace with such people, with hatred like that?
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